The rise of the paddock to plate movement represents the changing landscape of Australia’s food industry. While the food supply chain has become more complex in recent decades, thanks to free trade, wider distribution channels, and improved food technology—the current trend has been to look for and source food closer to home.
Changing consumer attitudes towards food and food sources has largely helped bring the paddock to plate movement more mainstream. Australian consumers today increasingly want to know where their food comes from. They want fresh ingredients—they want to have better control of what they eat.
Prior to the collapse of Aussie Farmers Direct, the company supplied 10,000 regular customers with fresh vegetables, meat, bread and dairy. That the company survived for more than a decade indicating that there is a sizeable segment in the market that demand fresh produce and its demise creates a substantial gap in the market.
Many restaurants have adapted the farm-to-table trend into their business models. As restaurants feel the pressure to compete and adapt to ever-changing consumer trends—chefs and owners have taken more active steps to appeal to clientele who have become more and more conscientious.
As the trend continues to gain traction, backyards and empty patches have transformed into community farms—with some restaurants even growing produce on-site. A recent survey of Australian restaurants (https://openforbusiness.opentable.com.au/2017/06/23/farm-to-table-trend-leads-to-rise-in-on-site-gardens/) have shown “use of seasonal produce appeals to 56 per cent of restaurants, while 40 per cent like restaurants that take active measures to use sustainably-sourced food, and 31 per cent are attracted to venues that grow their produce on site.”
The rise of the paddock to plate movement reveals the growing need for food supply transparency. Where does it come from? Where is it grown? How is it processed? How far does it travel? Consumers increasingly demand more information about their food—and food supply data tracking becomes ever more important.